The worship life of the church continues to be the high spot of our church life. Our attendance figures have shown continual growth in Sunday morning attendance over a four year period with an average of 62 in 2011 growing up to an average of 89 in last October’s figures. This is a good news story and we thank God for the growth.
During the year we have looked at ways to encourage continuity and this has included our themes for Advent and Easter. A new successful initiative was the series of themes and bible studies produced by the Joint Public Issues Team of the Methodist Church helping us to think of the issues surrounding the General Election. The Circuit initiated a planned theme encouraging us to reflect on what it means to be ‘church’. Entitled ‘Building Church’, we were encouraged to think of the church through a series of Biblical images. Feedback has been very positive on all these themed series.
The Advent and Lent prayer booklets have been well received and provide a resource for those who manage to attend church, but also for those who are housebound.
As always the ‘special’ services such as the Young People’s Day involving so many of our young people and the traditional Mothering Sunday and Fathers’ Day services led by the men and the women of the church respectively are much appreciated as are other Local Arrangement services.
‘Third Thursday’ has continued to meet during the year (with the exception of most months of the Shelter project). The evenings have included a wide variety of reflective services including a Godly Play session led by Barbara, and a variety of services from Iona and the Northumbria community. The numbers continue to be small but the evenings are appreciated by those who attend. If you have not yet managed to make it to one of these evenings, please do come along. They are like an oasis in the middle of the week. The Third Thursday service in December was a special Christmas one led by Naomi and Ali that the guests from the homeless shelter were invited to and we were thrilled that almost all guests attended and shared such a special evening with us.
Sunday evening worship has begun to establish a really positive pattern. When we moved from weekly services to meeting twice a month, we have generally been holding special services and numbers have increased. We had a recent evening service with an Iona Communion which was very well received as well as our Cafe Worship and Film nights. Having this space in evenings has also helped us to encourage attendance at circuit events, such as the excellent Messy Church event held at Putney and organised by Ali Stacey Chapman and Rev Nicola Morrison and the recent World Church and Easter Offering day.
During the year the remit of the old ‘worship consultation’ meetings have altered as we became aware that much had already been achieved in the range of styles of worship etc over the last few years. Increasingly the groups were looking at extending the worship life of the church into other devotional activities such as Bible Study and Prayer so this meeting now considers all these areas of worship. We would welcome others to come along to theses evenings so that they are truly representative of the range of ideas in the church, so please look out for advertised dates and come along. You will not get landed with organising unless you expressly wish to – it is an evening to exchange and share ideas and viewpoints as we continue to strive to make our worship ‘the best it can be’.
We have so much to give thanks for and so much more to look forward to as we look to all that God has in store for us at Bell Road!